Fix Inaccurate Flow Meter Readings With These 4 Fluid Straighteners

In metering pipeline systems, fluid distortions that are upstream of or near flow meters can make the meters' readings inaccurate. The readings can be off by as much as 50 percent or more, which makes monitoring a metering pipeline system difficult, if not impossible. There are several devices on the market, however, that fix fluid distortions. If your metering pipeline system is producing inaccurate readings, installing one of these four fluid-straightening tools might resolve your reading errors.

Reduce Swirling with a Fluid-Straightening Device

Swirls often form in pipes where there are quick increases in a pipe's slope or where two pipes come together. These swirls create eddies and gushes, not unlike the ebbs and flows of water in a brook or stream.

When the fluid in a pipe is swirling around, flow meters can't provide accurate readings. Their readings show the flow rate at a specific point in time, but you can't assume that rate is the same for any period of time. Because of the ebbs and flows, the flow rate varies from moment to moment.

Fluid straightening devices reduce flow distortions by straightening the flow of fluid through a capped pipe. By lessening how much the fluid in the pipe swirls, straighteners stabilize the flow rate. When the fluid is flowing in a straight stream, the flow rate will be consistent -- and meters will be able to provide readings that reflect the consistent flow rate.

Counteract Distortions with a Flow Conditioner

Flow conditioners also streamline a fluid's flow, but they work differently than fluid-straightening devices. Flow conditioners create small swirls that go in the opposite direction as the swirls that are within a pipe. When the two opposite-flowing swirls meet, they're canceled out and the flow becomes straight.

Flow conditioners have a few advantages over fluid-straightening devices:

  • flow conditioners don't lose pressure like fluid straighteners do
  • flow conditioners are available in smaller sizes than fluid straighteners, so they can be installed in narrow pipes
  • flow conditioners are easier to install than fluid straighteners

Most flow conditioners come pre-welded to a section of pipe, which makes them easy to install. Where there is a swirl in a pipe, a metering pipeline repair company can simply remove a section of the existing pipe and install a section of pipe that's the same size and has a flow conditioner welded inside of it.

Inexpensively Stabilize Flows with Zanker-Type Straighteners

Zanker-type straighteners have been around since 1970, and they're widely used in metering pipeline industry because they're inexpensive. Named for Klaus Zanker, who invented them, these straighteners stabilized flows with perforated plates. When the fluid in a pipe goes past one of these metal plates, the holes in the plate help channel the fluid into a single, uniform stream.

Zanker-type straighteners aren't just themselves inexpensive, but they also will reduce the cost of a metering pipeline repair. Zanker-type straighteners require less pipe than other types of straighteners and conditioners, which reduces both the materials and labor costs of a repair.

Precisely Control Flows with Etoile Straighteners

Etoile straighteners have plates arranged in a star pattern. The star's radial pattern controls the fluid from all sides, thus letting you precisely control the fluid's flow. These are the most precise straighteners available, although finding the exact rate might require adjusting them a few times until they're properly calibrated.

If your flow meters aren't providing inaccurate readings because of a nearby or upstream distortion, contact a metering pipeline repair company. They'll be able to check your system and distortion, and they'll know which of these four straighteners will best fix the distortions in your system.